Friday, May 16, 2014

PETA: the end of a short, meaningful journey

Friday, May 16, 2014
eymard street


my son and i enjoyed our early morning walks for five weeks in the relatively quiet eymard street in new manila. he was enrolled in the summer program of the philippine educational theater association (peta), which i learned they offered while i was searching for interesting plays to watch for the summer.

it took a bit of convincing before he said yes to giving theater a try. his doubts about it stemmed from the thought that it was a total disconnect from his world of comic books and whatever it was that occupied his enterprising 12-year-old brain. but as parents, there is one power that luckily works with our children. it’s called "convincing power" (you can do the sarcastic sheldon laugh now.)

on his first day, he could not stop thanking us for “pushing him just a bit” because the summer program proved to be everything that we promised it would be—fun.

there were times when my son and i walked briskly through eymard street because he was paranaoid about being late. i’ve been a mother for 12 years and i’m glad i still get my share of surprises. seriously, scared of being late? he wouldn't wake up early in the morning even i dropped a bomb in his room, so yes, surprised i was that he would wake up on his own at 5:30 am. he'd set his own alarm (nope, no bombs this time) and even made his own breakfast on some days when i’d  still be in the shower battling with my half-awake self.

i must say that his diligence did not only surprise me, it also saved our household from my hayena-resonating convulsions (except that mine’s  not really qualified as laughing) during mornings when he’d refuse to budge from the bed.

looking back at those five weeks, i have so much to be thankful for. the peta theater experience helped my 12-year-old in a lot of ways. it renewed his love for his electric guitar, he was happy with the people that he met and made friends with easily; it reignited his sense of diligence; it tested how well he could follow instructions from his teachers and proudly passed that; it was also a meaningful exercise for him to muster humility (a scarcity among 12-year olds) because he willingly listened to his peers when they coached him with his (initial) six-word liner, which he found arduous beyond our comprehension. peta was also a confirmation for him that teachers could be wonderful, talented, creative, fun and beautiful people who do not always subscribe to the idea that competition is the only way for learning to work.

the line, by the way, was: ayan na, ayan na ang balete! (translation not available here. please go somewhere else, thank you.)

when his teachers gave him more lines later on, we could not help but chide him: “how on earth did you even end up with more lines?!”

soul teachers. joan bugcat & pat liwanag

for me, as the proverbial fetcher (my peta ID said so), i also had my share of wonderful moments. for one, those early morning walks were refreshing especially that we didn’t have to go through busy streets nor elbow our way through a sea of people. there were a lot of greens to shortly rest our eyes on and as soon as we’d get to peta, i would exult in pride from having done my three-minute morning exercise, which to me earnestly counted.

i also bumped into another converse-donning mom and in the first three meetings we both agreed that we’d been friends for 10 years, but just didn’t know each other.

the last day before the recital, we decided to go earlier than usual to make our final early morning walk at eymard, which of course was shamefully and inappropriately overdramatic because it’s not exactly a road less traveled.  

we made friends with this guy.
the short street was named
after him.
what i loved about those walks was the quality of time that we spent just talking while heading towards peta. when my son gives me free, sincere access to his unadulterated thoughts, i listen. it warms my heart way better than any brew could. 

and the performance? he made it through without passing out. i honestly think he did really well, if you may ask.  

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